Diamondbacks Report: Three of Four Lost to Padres; Three with Royals Next

Pavin Smith of the Diamondbacks gets tagged out against the Padres. The Diamondbacks now face the Royals for three games.
(Photo by Wilfred Perez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Report: Three of Four Lost to Padres, Royals Next

PHOENIX, Apr. 24 — The Arizona Diamondbacks (12–11), in a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers after dropping three of four to the NL West-rival San Diego Padres, have the opportunity to right the ship in a three-game home series with the Kansas City Royals (5–17). In this edition of Diamondbacks Report, we will briefly review the Padres series before previewing the key details of the three games with the Royals.

Diamondbacks – Padres Series Summary

Game One matched a pair of right-handers, Michael Wacha for the Padres and Ryne Nelson for the Diamondbacks. The major story entering the game was the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. to the Padres after a 564-day hiatus. Neither starter pitched particularly well, as each allowed five runs. The difference in the game came on two unearned runs in the sixth. Of all people, the sure-handed Nick Ahmed made the costly error while setting up to turn a double play. Two batters later, Trent Grisham — the hero of the game — hit a two-run double that gave the Padres their victory margin in the 7–5 game.

Game Two was the Zac Gallen Show, as he tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts. This brought his scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings. When he left the game, the Diamondbacks led, 2–0. A seven-run outburst in the bottom of the eighth ran the score to the 9–0 final.

Games Three and Four

The story of Game Three was timely hitting. Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly walked five, with two of them ultimately scoring. One came in on a two-out double in the top of the first by Matt Carpenter. The other walk that ultimately scored came in the sixth inning, when Ha-Seong Kim hit a bases-loaded single with two outs. Tatis, who also hit a solo home run in the first, was the walk that scored. Juan Soto, who singled off Kelly, also scored on the knock. This hit gave the Padres a 4–3 lead. It became a 5–3 lead — the eventual final score — on a two-out single by Jake Cronenworth in the top of the eighth.

Game Four was a tale of two starters. Padres starter Yu Darvish held the Diamondbacks at bay in his 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits while walking five and striking out five. He left in the sixth inning with a hamstring injury, two runners on, and a 5–1 lead. Brent Honeywell Jr. took over mid-count and walked Pavin Smith (the walk was charged to Darvish by rule), loading the bases for Jake McCarthy. Honeywell struck McCarthy out, escaping the jam.

Diamondbacks starter Drey Jameson had a nightmarish start, tossing 43 pitches — 22 for strikes — in his only inning. The Padres touched him for three runs on three hits and three walks, leaving the bases loaded as the inning ended. Relievers Anthony Misiewicz, Peter Solomon, and Joe Mantiply all gave up runs as well. The Diamondbacks did their best to get back in the game, scoring two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, but it was not enough, as the Padres hung on for a 7–5 win.

Pitching Matchups between the Diamondbacks and Royals

Game One — Monday, April 24

Game One is a matchup between Royals right-hander Brad Keller (2–2, 3.00 ERA, 67 ERA-minus) and Diamondbacks left-hander Tommy Henry (first 2023 start). Henry has never started against or even faced the Royals, and the same is true of Keller regarding the Diamondbacks.

In Keller’s four 2023 appearances, all starts with one as a quality start, he has struck out 18, walked 13, and has a 1.286 WHIP across 21 innings. Opponents are batting .191 against him, nearly 50 points lower than the AL average of .240. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the AL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Brad Keller 1.286 20.7% 14.9% 1.2%
AL Average 1.281 23.5% 8.7% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

No one currently on the Royals roster has ever faced Henry. Only one Diamondback — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. — has faced Keller. He is 2-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Game Two — Tuesday, April 25

Game Two features a pair of right-handers, Brady Singer (1–2, 8.14 ERA, 183 ERA-minus) for the Royals and Ryne Nelson (1–0, 4.91 ERA, 112 ERA-minus) for the Diamondbacks. Singer has faced the Diamondbacks once, a victory on August 24 of 2022 in Kansas City. He allowed one run on four hits — one being a solo home run by the departed Daulton Varsho — walking none and striking out six over seven innings.

Singer had a decent start to his 2023 campaign, allowing one run on two hits against the Toronto Blue Jays, walking three and striking out three over five innings. However, he has been roughed up in his three starts since. Overall, he has made four starts in 2023, allowing 19 earned runs in 21 innings. He has struck out 19 and walked six while allowing five home runs. Opponents are batting .306 against him, 64 points higher than the AL average. The following table compares his percentages and his WHIP to the AL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Brady Singer 1.524 20.4% 6.5% 5.4%
AL Average 1.281 23.5% 8.7% 3.0%

 

Ryne Nelson has made four starts — two quality starts — so far in 2023. He has 14 strikeouts, eight walks, and a 1.182 WHIP while allowing four home runs over 22 innings. Opponents are batting .222 against him, 27 points below the NL average of .249. Here are his WHIP and his key percentages against the NL average.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Ryne Nelson 1.182 15.4% 8.8% 4.4%
NL Average 1.342 22.6% 9.3% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

No current Royals have ever faced Nelson. Six current Diamondbacks have faced Singer, four of them three times and two of them twice. Both Christian Walker and Josh Rojas are 1-for-3 against Singer. Gurriel and Alek Thomas are both 1-for-2 with a strikeout. Jake McCarthy is 0-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt, while Ketel Marte is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Game Three — Wednesday, April 26

As of Monday morning, the Royals had not yet announced a Wednesday starter, while the Diamondbacks will start right-hander Zac Gallen (3–1, 2.59 ERA, 59 ERA-minus). Gallen has made five starts in 2023, striking out 39 with five walks, two home runs allowed, and a 0.798 WHIP across 31 1/3 innings. As of Monday morning, he leads the NL in WHIP, strikeouts, and innings pitched. Opponents are batting .179 against Gallen, 70 points lower than the NL average. Here is a comparison of his WHIP and his key percentages to the NL averages.

WHIP K% BB% HR%
Zac Gallen 0.798 33.1% 4.2% 1.7%
NL Average 1.342 22.6% 9.3% 3.0%
Matchups with Current Rosters

Nine current Royals have faced Gallen. MJ Melendez is 2-for-6 against Gallen. Both hits went for extra bases, as he notched a double, a home run, three RBI, and two strikeouts. Bobby Witt Jr. is 1-for-6 with an RBI, the RBI coming on a groundout to the shortstop. Hunter Dozier is 1-for-2 with a double and three walks. Nicky Lopez is 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout. Salvador Perez is 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Matt Duffy is 0-for-1 with a walk. The other Royals to have faced Gallen are Michael Massey, 0-for-3 with two strikeouts; Kyle Isbel, 0-for-2 with a strikeout; and Jackie Bradley Jr. 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Recent History between the Diamondbacks and Royals

With the Royals being in the AL Central, the Diamondbacks have only faced them three of the previous ten seasons. Back in 2014, the Royals — who ultimately won the AL Pennant — swept the Diamondbacks in a three-game August series at Chase Field in Phoenix. The two met again in 2017, with the Royals taking two of three at Kauffman Stadium. Their most recent meetings came with a four-game home-and-home in 2022. The Diamondbacks swept the two-game series in Phoenix, while the teams split the two-gamer in Kansas City.

Diamondbacks and Royals Storylines

The Diamondbacks came home Thursday from a split road trip with an 11–8 record, two games ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers and two and a half games ahead of the Padres. Now they find themselves 12–11, tied with the Dodgers for first and a half-game ahead of the Padres. Good teams beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. This series is a prime example. The Royals are not only a last-place team — they have the second-worst record in the majors. Anything but a series win for the Diamondbacks will be a major disappointment.

The Royals have struggled all month. They have already had three separate three-game losing streaks as well as a seven-game skid. Not only are they 5–17, but they are 2–8 over their last ten games. Of the seven series they’ve played, they’ve lost six — three via sweep. A series win here will be a huge moral victory and a step in the right direction.

Schedules for the Rest of their Divisions

AL Central Slate for the First Half of the Week

The Royals are one of three AL Central teams on the road from Monday to Wednesday. One of the other road teams is the Chicago White Sox (7–15), who face the Toronto Blue Jays (13–9) in a three-game series north of the border. The other is the Detroit Tigers (7–13), who have a tough three-gamer with the Milwaukee Brewers (15–7).

Meanwhile in Cleveland, the second-place Guardians (11–11) host a three-gamer with the struggling Colorado Rockies (6–17). The basement-dwelling Rockies are tied with the 2005 squad for the worst 23-game start in franchise history. In Minneapolis, the first-place Minnesota Twins (12–10), who will host the Royals for four games after the Royals leave Phoenix, have a three-game series against their postseason nemesis — the New York Yankees (13–9).

NL West Slate for the First Half of the Week

Both the Dodgers (12–11) and Padres (12–12), in the midst of road trips, are off Monday. The Dodgers resume play Tuesday against the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates (16–7), while the Padres face the Chicago Cubs (12–9). The San Francisco Giants (8–13) open a four-game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals (9–13).

Diamondbacks and Royals Game Times

Games One and Two between the Diamondbacks and Royals will start at 6:40 pm Arizona Time. Game Three will be Wednesday afternoon at 12:40 pm Arizona Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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